Archives for category: women

So… the news, right? Problematic, most certainly if you are a woman. Not solely because abortion services are a sometimes necessary piece of a woman’s reproductive healthcare, but also because of what the recent SCOTUS decision says about how those people devalue female human beings, generally. There will be plenty of folks throwing words about the issue(s) at our collective consciousness for days (weeks, months). Anything I might want to say is likely to be covered more skillfully by another voice. I’ll let this one go; know that I’m am hurting over it, myself. Shocked and appalled and angry, like a lot of other people. I’ll be writing letters to elected representatives (not because it is assured to be the most effective action to take, just that I can take it, repeat it, and do so as often as needed to feel heard). I’ve got plenty of stamps for snail mail, and great internet connectivity for emails.

…But… Or… And? Maybe “and” is right… please take care of yourself.

Take time for joy, too.

My Traveling Partner and I have been putting a lot of time into “the (new) family business”. It’s fun to work together on a task, and enjoy the shared experience of successful completion and a job well done. I think it also serves helpfully to give my partner better insights into what I realistically can and can’t actually do these days. When I’m just standing around, or hanging out watching videos, it’s probably pretty easy to overlook how much pain I may actually be in, or that I struggle to climb a ladder, or that standing on my ankle for long results in intense fatigue (pretty quickly), or that I often just “run out of energy” in the late afternoon.

…I started this several days ago. I put it aside, because it didn’t look like political events were going to improve (or change) much at all, and also, life is fucking busy right now, and I grab every chance I can to hang out with my Traveling Partner – even when that choice may not be ideal self-care. I fucking love that guy, and our mortal time together is precious and limited. Today? Today I hurt. I’m quite a lot of pain, and returned home from a long seeming work day in the local co-work space to my partner’s shitty day, bad mood, and surliness. I ran an errand. Came home. He’s frank and clear with me, not unkind just having his own experience. I don’t really want any part of that mess, right now, so… I head to the studio and sit down to write.

Sometimes we just need room to be. Better or bad, convenient or not, there are moments in a human life when handling it alone feels ideal. I mean… that’s one woman’s opinion. I happen to like some solo time (like, a lot of it), so perhaps I am biased. I enjoy my own company. 🙂

When it’s just me, “everyone” in the room wants to do what I want to do, without regard to what that happens to be. lol Read? Sure. Write? Hell, yes. Paint? I’m ready for it. Watch some videos on YouTube? I’m down for that and I’ll definitely be okay with whatever I may choose to watch. lol. Cook a meal? It’ll definitely be whatever I may enjoy, myself, without holding space for other preferences. Just sit awhile, in a quiet room? No problem – and no interruptions (however long I may sit quietly). Go to bed ridiculously early? Sure. Go for it. Stay up foolishly late? Also fine. Listen to the music loud? I can do that any day, any time, but when I’m alone it’s often a different playlist.

…I’m just saying, sometimes I really enjoy hanging out with the woman in the mirror, just being.

Solo time is peculiarly rare these days. Life wedges in a lot of human interaction, in spite of the pandemic, in spite of working from home, in spite of making an effort to get the downtime I actually do need. My Traveling Partner is social (very), and we adore each other. Time together is time well-spent and these mortal lifetimes are limited and too brief. Friends? I don’t see them often enough these days, so it’s rare to turn down a chance to hang out – even if it might have been excellent solo time, with different choices. Work? Even working from home full-time, I “see” a lot of my colleagues on calls, and the conversation is almost continuous in the work channels on Slack. Running errands puts me out in the world interacting with more other people. They’re everywhere. lol Finding moments to be really alone actually takes real effort and planning. I’ve got a camping trip planned for the end of July. 🙂

My partner checks in with me. We’re okay. He’s careful to confirm that he was gentle enough with me; he was having a pretty terrible day apparently, and his emotions were raw and on the surface. I appreciate the consideration, and we share appreciative grateful words of love. I make a point of ensuring he is aware of my physical discomfort, also making a point to be considerate, and gentle with my words. Sometimes we’re sufficiently emotionally “rugged” to roll with a moment of temper – helpful because we’re both fucking human – other times we need more tenderness and care from each other. Today feels good. Connected and intimate. Aware. Compassionate and empathetic. Nonjudgmental. Feeling heard without having to try so hard. It’s nice.

Late afternoon hints at becoming evening. It’s a warm day, and I hurt too much to cook anything that requires a lot of effort. Burgers? Maybe. I don’t mind making the run. A sit down dinner out would be lovely…but… Even now, neither of us feel really comfortable in public spaces that are occupied by people in close proximity. It’s pretty convenient not being sick every two or three weeks with some sniffle or stomach ache, and while it may not have stopped COVID in its tracks, the social distancing thing has been excellent for our health. LOL Sandwiches? Burgers? I don’t actually care much – I barely have any appetite, in spite of taking appropriate steps to manage my pain. The pain shouts into my consciousness louder than my empty stomach. It is what it is.

I take a sip from my glass of clean water, and pause for just a moment to really appreciate having access to a steady supply of potable, filtered, clean drinking water. Then – I begin again.

Here it is, your day! I mean, if you are a mother, this is it. A day on the calendar for you. I hope it is delightful!

Today is potentially fairly grim and meaningless, perhaps, if you did not choose motherhood. Just saying; that may unfortunately become much more common. And although women who do choose (even embrace) motherhood may not understand this, for those that do not choose motherhood, the idea of being forced to endure it is not a “small detail”, and no, their feelings on that may never change, even if they find themselves in the position of having to raise a child (or children).

I chose to be childless, and I am grateful to have come of age at a time when I could make that choice.

Anyway – if you did choose motherhood, here’s to you, and my best wishes that your child grows to become someone you can be proud of, and a value to community and society, and that you thrive in your role as Mother. It’s a worthy endeavor to commit to motherhood, for those that choose it. You have my respect.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I woke in a sweat, uncomfortable and shaking, tearing my consciousness from a nightmare that I had gotten pregnant – at 60, post-menopause – and unable to terminate my terribly risky and thoroughly unwanted pregnancy because the law had changed, and my bodily autonomy as a human being was utterly lost. My heart was pounding. I paced restlessly for a moment or two, feeling vaguely unsettled and with a persistent “uncomfortable” feeling in my guts.

I laid back down, fighting sensations very much at odds with each other; the sweats and discomfort, the fatigue and sleepiness. I felt peculiarly averse to going back to sleep. I wasn’t exactly nauseous… but I felt suspiciously as if I might feel better if I got sick and got past it.

Predictably enough, I was quite sick moments later. Something I ate apparently did not agree with me. The stressful nightmare was likely a byproduct of the combination of physical and emotional discomfort – one from whatever I ate that did not agree with me, the other from the recently leaked not-quite-official-yet Supreme Court document regarding the likely end of Roe v Wade. My physical discomfort was greatly eased by vomiting. My emotional discomfort… well, it’s no surprise that it persists.

…Tell me again why someone besides me, myself, has anything to say about whether or not I carry a pregnancy to term? I’ve chosen to be childless. Period. Seriously. I did not want to be a mother. Why would my choice be out of my hands? When I hear people spouting bullshit talking points about the sacredness of life from the moment of conception, I reliably find myself wondering how they are so easily able to overlook the sacredness of the life of the pregnant person, herself? How do they justify what is fundamentally a position that states women should be coercively required – forced – to bear a child? Forced to bring a pregnancy to term that they do not want. Forced to endure a potentially life-threatening pregnancy for months. Forced, potentially, to go through all that and the trauma of giving up a child for adoption in order to avoid motherhood? How is that acceptable?

I hear a lot of religious arguments against abortion. My thoughts on that are basically… by all means, if your faith restricts you from terminating a pregnancy, definitely do not do that, then. I get it. Your religious freedoms absolutely permit that choice for you. My religious beliefs do not in any way restrict me from choosing to end a pregnancy. My religious freedoms should ensure that I continue to have access to a full measure of reproductive medical services – including abortion. I know, it probably sounds like I am taking this damned personally for a woman on the other side of menopause… doesn’t even affect me, directly, right? I am taking this personally. Having abortion available to me ensured I was able to choose to be childless by intent. My choice. I was able to graduate high school. I was able to join the Army once I did. Both of those would have been beyond my reach, without having been able to terminate a pregnancy while I was in high school. I had birth control measures available. I used them. My birth control failed – which is not uncommon. I was fortunate to live at a time when abortion was available to me, when I needed it.

I needed to get that off my mind. Thank you. If I’ve upset you, I regret the distress I’ve caused you. Not enough to change (or withhold) my thoughts on this topic, but it isn’t my intention to cause you suffering if we disagree.

…But… can anyone tell me why it seems acceptable to tell someone that they must be forced to bear a child against their will, or potentially under life-threatening circumstances? Why is the not-yet-viable-outside-the-womb fetus “life” worthy of respect and value – but the living breathing human person with that fetus in their body is less so? I don’t get it. Like it or not, that’s really what is being proposed; forcing people who do not want to bear a child to go through that process because someone else is not okay with an abortion that they have nothing to do with at all. Yes, I’m unreasonably angry about this, and taking it personally. It feels personal.

It’s late. My guts are no longer churned up. I’m no longer sweating. My breathing is relaxed and even. It’s quiet in these wee hours, and I am alone with my thoughts in the night. I’m okay, though. No despair. Just quiet. There’s no stress to these sleepless hours; tomorrow I return home to the welcoming embrace of my Traveling Partner. I’m definitely homesick. I’m eager to be at home all through the month of June.

A yawn unexpectedly splits my face. I’m tired and sleepy. Time to try that sleep thing, again. Tomorrow is a new day, and plenty soon enough for new beginnings. 🙂

Met with my new physical therapist today. Well, more to the point, met with them. Two helpful professionals who seem eager to support my wellness. I’d say, cynically, “for a price…”, and realistically, yeah, that’s true. It’s a job for them. It’s a service for me. There is an exchange of cash between us. I’m okay with that – I’ve had clinicians of various sorts over the years, and every one of them worked for pay, and they were not all anything like as encouraging as these two humans were with me this evening. It was quite nice.

…I’m so tired though… LOL

Look, I’m not trying to get fit for a marathon. I’m not trying to rehabilitate a tragic injury that impairs my most routine life functions. I’m just in pain. Injuries over time that weren’t properly cared for, piled on top of whatever the fuck is going on with my damned neck (and my six year headache), and aging, and the long-time lack of real fitness, and the excess weight… Yep. It adds up, and it’s hard dealing with it “alone”. (I’m not alone, and my partner is both helpful and supportive.) Having care providers who are not emotionally entangled with my outcome, who are quite wholesomely optimistic of my potential, and encouraging of my progress is – I hope – really going to help me get fitter and more well, and just maybe also in less pain… maybe…? A bit…? Over time…? I laugh quietly to myself thinking about bits of the conversation…

PT Person: “Where do you see yourself, if you achieve your fitness goals?”

Me (being perhaps just a tad flippant): “Hiking a 50lb pack 3 miles without being breathless or ending the day in so much pain I just can’t even move again for two days..? Somewhere between able to do the Nijmegen march without significant exertion and comfortably able to go/do whatever/whenever without having to plan around my abilities…? Maybe down to 150lbs.”

PT Person: “Okay. Sounds achievable. Let’s work on what that’s likely to take.”

Me: … “Um… Seriously?”

Other PT Person: “What would you consider your personal ideal for fitness? What would you be able to do comfortably on a typical weekend?”

Me: “Peak fitness? I’d be able to hike a 70lb pack over cross-country terrain, maybe 5 miles – or do 10 miles without a pack. Easily lift 70 lbs without asking for help. Balance on one leg for a laugh, without falling, for like… minutes. Run upstairs right quick without being out of breath. Get my weight down around 135 lbs.

PT person just nods and takes notes. Other PT person looks thoughtful and asks some specific questions about specific injuries. We talk about pain. Pain management. This injury. That one. Throughout the entire appointment, they were encouraging. Listening. Open. It was a pretty uplifting and positive experience.

…G’damn am I hurting right now, though. LOL Physical therapy. Physical therapy. We worked on some things. I came home with instructions. A list of upcoming next appointments. A plan. An intention. A fire inside me where enthusiasm, sparked, now smolders, ready to ignite. Am I going to make this a thing that happens in my life…? Incremental change over time. It takes verbs. Repetition. New beginnings on top of restarts following do-overs, preceding next steps, and first steps, and other steps, and moments of frustration – it’s a fucking journey, which means it’s not “easy”, nor “effortless”, and it will be ongoing… one exercise after another. Repetition upon repetition upon repetition. Tracked. Remindered. Followed-up upon. Damn, y’all, we gonna be actioning some shit around here!! I mean, I hope. “You’ve got this!”, she said, as I wrapped up in my coat for the chilly drive home.

…I’ve got this. I’ve got this pain. That pain. That injury bothering me right now. The one that isn’t bothering me much at all. The other one that flared up as I left the appointment. The one that felt better with even a moment of attention paid to it. Maybe. Maybe I’ve got this, though. Maybe I do. I guess I’ll begin again, again, and see where this path takes me. 🙂

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I slept deeply, living an alternate reality, rich, colorful, surreal, and woke to recollections of some other life. Some other self. I remember lights, and music, and abundance, holiday festivities. Giftmas dreams. I woke, also, to a visceral recollection of sitting forlorn and draggled at a rainy city bus stop during the holiday season, surrounded by holiday lights and late afternoon winter darkness – thinking thoughts, then, that had a striking resemblance to the dream I woke from, this morning, but from the perspective of yearning, rather than celebration. How very strange. Later, with this cup of coffee, I’m struck by the unlikely coincidence of seeing a thumbnail for a video (the one I linked just now, earlier in this paragraph) that very much looked like the scene I was remembering! Stranger, still, it looks very like the city I once lived in, too. Odd morning.

…”It’s a journey.” Life, by way of metaphor.

Dreams are only dreams. Progress is made through actions. There are verbs involved. Surely I could sit at a bus stop in the rain, crying over what is not, for endless hours – but doing so changes nothing. I’m just saying; misery may love company, but it also tends to be lazy as fuck. 😉 Choose a verb, choose your adventure, take a step on your path… there is no “too late” if you’ve another breath to take.

Wins and losses in life don’t have to become a punishing point system that nags or mocks you for your perceived failures. Let that bullshit go, if you can. Dream your dreams, choose your verbs, find your own way – one step, one beginning at a time. 🙂 Try to be kind to yourself along the way – there will always be plenty of other people around you ready to be discouraging assholes, or just plain mean or discourteous. 🙂 No reason to add to all of that.

‘Tis the season

I think about the day ahead. The year drawing to a close. Thanksgiving already over. The Winter Solstice, Giftmas, and New Year’s ahead. I sip my coffee and enjoy the sound of rain (on this video, that I’m not sitting in, wet, at a lonely bus stop, broke, and alone). I think about the things that went quite well this year, in spite of the pandemic. I think about things that continue to challenge me, as a human, seeking to be the woman I most want to be. I think about love, and my Traveling Partner, and the life we build together every day. I feel fortunate. I feel thankful. I take a breath, filling my lungs with air clean enough to breathe. I sip coffee made with clean filtered water, and locally roasted, sustainably-sourced (they say) coffee beans. Choices that became advantages. Advantages that represent privilege – and good fortune. I did not build my life alone with my own two hands “from the ground up”, myself. To say that I have feeds into the cultural lie that is the “bootstrap fallacy“. This has always been a shared journey, and I am wholly interdependent on lives around me, and the actions and choices of others. That’s just real. Yeah, the verbs are spread out; I can choose my own. None of us get where we are without help, good fortune, useful circumstances, and a sprinkling of coincidence, however “self-made” we’re inclined to make ourselves out to be.

The day ahead is not really a holiday. Just a day off. I took it easy all weekend after getting my seasonal flu shot and my Covid booster. Choices. Today I feel pretty good. A good day for housekeeping, tidying up before the next holiday. Maybe playing some video games, or getting a hike in, if the rain stops. Choices aplenty. Choices, followed by verbs; doesn’t matter what I may “decide” to do, if I don’t act on that decision. Seems obvious enough.

I made a lovely plum pudding for Giftmas; I remind myself to baste it with spirits, again today. Odd tangent – my Granny once invited me to make a Christmas Pudding with her from an old recipe she’d found in her grandmother’s handwriting, tucked into an old cookbook. I was visiting, (my last visit with her as it turned out) over a holiday season. I was moody and she was seeking to lift my spirits and help me regain perspective. I declined, rather flippantly saying something about making a plum pudding seeming the sort of thing I’d only want to do “once I had a proper home of my own”, somehow. She was pleasant about that rejection; she didn’t want to put in all the effort if I wasn’t also into it, and we quickly found other delightful ways to enjoy our time together. This year I remembered. So… this year I made that plum pudding (linked recipe is very traditional, also very large, and was not the recipe I used, myself, just looks like a good one). Rather hilariously, my Traveling Partner has zero interest – it just isn’t his sort of dessert. So, this one is for me. A memory, and a celebration. I do wish I actually had that original recipe in my great-great-grandmother’s handwriting, though… what a treasure that would be. 🙂

My coffee is finished. My cell phone has finished re-charging. The rain outside continues to fall. Seems a good time to begin again. 🙂